אך העולם הזה השפל, עם החיות שבתוכו

This lowly world, however, with the life-force that is found within it,

קטן מהכיל ולסבול אור וחיות מבחינת צורת האותיות ופנימיותן

is too small to contain and endure the light and life-force that proceed from the “form” and “inwardness” of the letters;

להאיר ולהשפיע בו בלי לבוש והסתר

[this lowly world is too small for this light and life-force to be able] to radiate and diffuse in it without any garment or concealment

כמו שמאירות ומשפיעות לנשמות ומלאכים

as they radiate and diffuse to the souls and angels, which receive the radiation from the inwardness of the letters without the garment and concealment of the “matter” and “body” of the letters which consists of the “breath”.1

רק ההארה וההשפעה באה ונשפע לעולם הזה מבחינת חומר וגוף האותיות וחיצוניותם

Instead, the radiation and diffusion comes and flows to this world from the “matter”, “body”, or “externality” of the letters.

שהוא בחינת ההבל

This is called “breath”, just as the “body” or external aspect of the letters of man’s speech derives from physical breath,

המתחלק לז׳ הבלים שבקהלת, שעליהם העולם עומד

and it divides into the seven “breaths” of [the second verse of] Kohelet,2 on which the world stands; as taught in the holy Zohar,3 “The world exists only by virtue of the [seven] ‘breaths’ uttered by King Solomon.”

והוא מוצא פי ה׳, המתלבש בעולם הזה וכל צבאיו להחיותם

This is “the utterance that issues forth from G‑d’s mouth,” i.e., this is the letter hei, which is vested in this world and all its hosts to animate them;

ובתוכו מלובשת בחינת צורת אותיות הדיבור והמחשבה

in [this utterance] is vested the “form” of the letters of speech and thought,

ממדותיו הקדושות ורצונו וחכמתו וכו׳

emanating from His holy attributes, and His will and wisdom, and so on,

This is similar to the letters (i.e., the potential and as-yet- inarticulate components) of a man’s speech or thought, which attain a state of revealed expression through his emotions: since, for example, he loves and desires something, he thinks and speaks about it. The emotions themselves, however, derive from his will and mind. The same is true Above: the letters of speech and thought are revealed by the Divine attributes and emanate from them, though ultimately they derive from G‑d’s will and wisdom.

המיוחדות באין סוף ברוך הוא, בתכלית

which are utterly incorporated in the blessed Ein Sof.

Thus, the radiance emanating from the “form” of the letters — a radiance that emanates from G‑d’s attributes, wisdom and will — is merely found בתוכו, within the internality of the Divine utterance that creates and vitalizes this world; it is not manifest. That which serves as the source of the creation and vitality of this world is the externality or “body” of the letters, the “breath” of Divine speech.

(וזהו שאמר האר״י ז״ל, שבחינת חיצוניות הכלים דמלכות דאצילות, המרומזות בה׳ של שם ה׳ ברוך הוא, הם ירדו ונעשו נשמה לעולם העשיה)

(4And this is what Rabbi Isaac Luria, of blessed memory, stated5 — that the external aspects of the vessels of [the Sefirah of] Malchut of [the World of] Atzilut, [these external aspects being] alluded to by the [lower] hei of the Four-Letter Name of G‑d, descended and became the soul for the World of Asiyah.)

וכן כתוב בתקונים, שהיו״ד הוא באצילות כו׳, וה׳ תתאה מקננת בעשיה

It is likewise stated in the Tikkunim,6 that the yud is in [the World of] Atzilut, [the upper hei in the World of Beriah, the vav in the World of Yetzirah,] and the lower hei nests in [the World of] Asiyah.

These four letters of the Divine Name Havayah are the aspect of G‑dliness that is revealed within the Four Worlds,7 as follows:

In the World of Atzilut, the Sefirah of Chochmah (the yud of the Divine Name) is manifest. Chochmah signifies the highest form of self-nullification, the awareness that “He is One Alone and apart from Him there is nothing,” as explained in the Note to Part I, ch. 35. This Sefirah permeates the entire World of Atzilut, so that whatever exists at that state of being experiences this degree of self-nullification before G‑d.

The upper hei of the Divine Name, the Sefirah of Binah (“comprehension”), illuminates the World of Beriah. Hence all the inhabitants of this world, both souls and angels, are characterized by a high degree of perception of Divinity.

The World of Yetzirah is illumined by the letter vav of the Divine Name, representing the six middot, the Divine emotive attributes. The created beings of this world therefore serve G‑d with their spiritual emotions, with ecstatic love and fear.

The World of Asiyah is animated by the lower hei of the Tetragrammaton, the Sefirah of Malchut. This is the world of action, the level of active Divine service that is motivated by an acceptance of the yoke of the heavenly kingdom.

However, this refers only to the soul of the World of Asiyah that emanates from the combinations of the letters of Divine speech at their innermost dimension. This level is clothed and concealed within the “matter” or “body” of the letters — the “breath”. The actual creation and animation of the World of Asiyah derives only from the externality of Divine speech, i.e., from the “breath”. It is for this reason that this world is physical and corporeal.

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